Sandy has passed, and now your priority is to be sure your home is safe after the storm and flooding. Electrical systems, heating and cooling equipment, gas lines, and plumbing are all vulnerable. Here’s a checklist of everything that you need to ensure is in proper working order.

Electrical

  • Check outside the house for any damaged power lines or outside wiring.
  • If you smell anything burning or see smoke or sparks when your electricity is restored after a storm, turn off the electricity at the main breaker until an electrician can inspect the wires for damage. Immediately turn off the electricity at the main breaker.
  • Any appliances that have been exposed to flooding must be completely dry before being turned on.  Don’t even plug them in until they are dry. A good precaution is to have an electrician or appliance repair professional check any waterlogged appliances.

Gas

  • Inspect any exposed gas lines for damage; as with electrical lines, any suspicious gas lines need to be inspected by a professional.  Call a plumber.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main valve, open the windows, and get out of the house. Call the utility company immediately.
  • Do not do anything that could cause a spark, such as smoking or lighting matches, until you are sure there is no gas present.

Water Damage

  • If your home was flooded, always assume that mold is now present. Mold creates health risks for those with asthma, allergies, or other breathing impairments.
  • Even if the flooding didn’t reach your home but was in your area, use a dehumidifier if possible to take the moisture out of the air.
  • If you don’t have a whole-house air cleaner, consider having one installed so that it can help remove the bacteria, viruses, and mold that remain in the air.

Heating and Cooling Equipment

  • Have a professional inspect all heating and cooling system equipment that may have been compromised. It’s likely that outdoor cooling equipment was damaged, so have it checked now instead of waiting until spring.
  • Check that any bolts that attach your system to the base are secure and did not move as a result of the storm. If the unit moved, the plumbing or wiring may have sustained serious damage.
  • If there is any debris around your unit that may have hit it, or if there is any visible damage that was not present before the hurricane, have it inspected before restoring power.
  • If any flooding occurred during the hurricane, there is a risk of electrical shock when you turn your air conditioner on. If any flood waters came near your unit, have it inspected before turning it on.
  • If any salt water came into contact with your system, it can have long-term corrosive effects. Have it cleaned by a professional immediately.

Plumbing

  • Have a professional inspect any plumbing or fixtures that may have been compromised.
  • The volume of rain a hurricane brings and the associated flooding can cause septic systems to have problems. Typical issues include toilets that drain slowly and waste water bubbling up from the ground. If you notice either of these happening, call a plumber.

Your best bet to ensure that your home is safe is to call a professional that you trust and who knows what to look for in spotting potential problems.